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Holiday Travel Tips For Those No Longer 20 Years Old

Holiday Travel Tips For Those No Longer 20 Years Old
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BY KITT WALSH

The other day my vanity took a hit when a young woman offered me her seat on the subway. I mentally wrestled with the fact I was far too young to need to be treated like a senior citizen and then realized (simultaneously) that I am …

–Chronologically approaching legitimate senior citizen status

–Too old for walking long distances in high heeled boots and

–My discomfort must have shown on my face.

I took the offered seat with a grateful smile.

Once I made this concession to the fact I am not that young anymore, I decided to apply what I learned to the approaching holiday trip. As travel becomes ever more tortuous, I vowed to make things a little easier on myself. Here are some tips I plan to utilize and you might use, too:

While You Are Packing

Roll all your clothes: Even your suits. Not only will everything take up much less space, but will wrinkle less, too. Put your name, airline and flight number and cell number inside your luggage. Don’t put your address as thieves may figure you have left home for the holidays and take the opportunity to hit your house. I can exist for a month with only what I pack in a carry-on. Skipping the luggage claiming experience will do much for your serenity. Mail any gifts, addressed to yourself, at your destination (TSA will unwrap any gifts you carry on anyway.)

At The Airport

Keep your bag off of your shoulder: According to a recent study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 49,100 luggage-related injuries are treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics each year. As a former corporate road warrior, I used to schlep my bag, no matter how heavy, on my shoulder. I have since traded in briefcase and purse for a leather backpack with wide straps to better distribute the weight and for a small suitcase that rolls everywhere.

Take the courtesy cart: Have you ever almost missed a flight in the country’s busiest airport and run those miles of corridors to the correct gate. At best, you will arrive sweaty. At worse, you will get there blistered, exhausted and with your blood pressure dangerously high. Take it easy and flag down one of the courtesy carts passing by—they are not only for the handicapped. Consider it a nod to your advancing age and ride those endless corridors in comfort.

Find the elevator: Rather than balance your rolling suitcase (and yourself on knees that may be getting less reliable) on that steep escalator, find the elevator and ride up.

On The Plane

Using the overhead: I used to jump up on a seat to try to cram my carry-on in the overhead. The first nod to sanity I made in this category was buying new luggage that exactly meets the airline’s carry-on requirements (all measurements are listed on each airline’s website).

I also take advantage of any taller, younger person’s offer to help me put my suitcase up in the overhead. (Note: This younger, taller person will—most likely–not be a flight attendant.)

Carry your own supplies: 
I carry with me wet wipes and toilet paper in that all-important backpack, as well as granola bars and bottled water (even thought they charge highway robbery prices to buy that bottle after going through security). I also keep all medications with me (and a copy of my prescriptions for when I land), as well as fuzzy socks and gloves for cold feet/hands, a neck pillow (inflatable if you lack room) and ear plugs (actual construction-site rated ones) to withstand the screaming kids on every holiday plane (a good supply of your favorite pain reliever helps, too.)

I am hydrated, fed, warm, semi-comfortable, equipped for no-toilet paper emergencies, able to clean my face and hands, and can survive even the longest delay on the runway.

Apply the “Wisdom of Age”: By our age, you should know that when God made time, He/She made plenty of it. Allow lots of time at either end of your trip and then relax — despite the inevitable delays. Start a conversation with that interesting person across the aisle. Offer to hold the new mother’s wailing baby. Help everyone around you have a more pleasant time. Consider your calm and happy attitude a holiday gift to all.

At Your Destination

Keep in Touch: Email your hosts your cell number and flight information. Link your flight’s website so they can track if your plane will be late or have them download an app so they can check the status of your flight on their cell phone.Be considerate of your ride: Call whomever is picking you up once you are off the plane. Tell them you will call again when you have exited the terminal to tell them which door you’ve used. No need for them to park (fees are exorbitant and with your manageable luggage you are self-sufficient).Beat the Crowds: Ask whomever is meeting you to find you out in front of Departures, not Arrivals. The crush of people is always much less and since you’ve carried your luggage on, your can skip the baggage carousel craziness.

I hope these tips make your holiday travel less crazy and you have a wonderful trip, make lifelong memories, and are able to greet the new year with a peaceful smile.

 

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